Imam of China’s largest mosque stabbed to death
The imam of China’s largest mosque in the westernmost city of Kashgar was stabbed to death on Wednesday, The Guardian newspaper reported.
Imam Jume Tahir, who had reportedly supported China’s Communist party, was attacked as he was leaving the Id Kah mosque Wednesday morning on the second day of Eid al-Fitr celebrations, marking the end of Ramadan.
The killing of the 74-year-old imam, who was also a former deputy to the official National People’s Congress (NPC), explains “the shutdown that saw roads closed and internet access and text messaging shut off in Kashgar,” The Guardian said.
The paper also said that Tahir’s murder “comes amid an upsurge in violence in the north-western region. It was described by some as an assassination.”
Meanwhile, The Telegraph described Tahir, who was also deputy president of the Xinjiang Islamic Association, as having “no shortage of enemies in the local Uighur community, who saw him as a government stooge and apologist.”
Kashgar is located in the autonomous region of Xinjiang, where the majority of the population adheres to Islam and are called Uighur Muslims.
In early July, Muslims in Xinjiang working as civil servants, students and teachers have been banned from fasting during Ramadan.
In recent years, Tahir publicly spoke out against the wave of violence in Xinjiang, accusing the separatist Muslims for halting progress and social and ethnic cohesion, according to The Telegraph.
His killing comes after a major clash in nearby Yarkland where a group of Uighurs, reportedly angry at government restrictions over Ramadan, attacked a police station and government offices.